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2017 - German humanitarian aid at record high

Refugees from South Sudan in Uganda

Refugees from South Sudan in Uganda, © Thomas Koehler/ Photothek

12.01.2018 - Press release

Never before have as many people been dependent on foreign aid worldwide as in the past year. Therefore, German support for these people in need, reaching a new record high in 2017, is indispensable.

Over the past year, the German Foreign Office has allocated a record €1.75 billion to humanitarian aid globally.

Germany promotes humanitarian aid at donor conferences, with partner organisations as well as policy makers, within the EU and the UN.

In doing so, the German humanitarian aid is bound to the principles of humanity. It is impartial, independent and neutral.

Syria and neighboring countries: With the region’s massive need for food supplies as well as the protection of women, children and the elderly from ongoing acts of war and destruction, the UN aid programmes have been gradually underfunded. Germany has been active in trying to close that gap, giving €720 million for humanitarian aid in relation to the Syrian crisis in 2017, making Germany the second largest donor after the United States. 

Ongoing humanitarian crises in Africa:  In April 2017, in his “Berlin Humanitarian Appeal” Foreign Minister Gabriel announced German support for the endangered regions in South Sudan, Northeast Nigeria, the Horn of Africa and Yemen. On top of that, 4 million people have become refugees due to ongoing armed conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo, 3 million in the war stricken region of Kasai alone are dependent on food supplies. With Germany's help, the World Food Programme was able to support the millions of displaced people with food. In 2017, the German government allocated €430 million to the African continent.

The great humanitarian crisis in Yemen: 22 million people are dependent on humanitarian aid in Yemen after war and a fatal cholera epidemic. The UN allocated another €40 million to support the humanitarian efforts; the German Foreign Office was able to allocate €165 million in 2017 for the Yemen crisis. Not only the Yemeni people but also 11 Million Iraqis are in need of supplies after the defeat of ISIS in the country.  As the second largest donor, the German Foreign Office was able to support Iraq with €500 million over the last three years, and 11.5 million in 2017

The Rohingya crisis: The Rohingya refugee crisis has already led to the displacement of 650,000 people.  Germany has been a supporting force long before the recent events and Foreign Minister Gabriel has promised further help for the future. In 2017, Germany allocated €22.8 million.

The forgotten humanitarian crisis in Europe - East Ukraine: According to UN data, 4 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance in East Ukraine, 3 more million have already fled the country. Due to the ongoing conflicts within the region, many humanitarian organisations are denied entry into the country or are faced with difficult conditions. Germany, together with international partners is committed to support the people in whichever way possible. Next to food security and clean drinking water, the priority for the region is clearing the area of landmines and buried explosives. Germany has supported these efforts with more than €23 million in 2017.

The German Foreign Office also supports the initiative #nichtvergesser. It aims to draw attention to forgotten crises with the help of humanitarian aid organisations to prevent any crisis from ever been neglected or forgotten.

Immense problems for the civil population after the immediate conflict is over are the danger of landmines and explosives buried in the ground. Germany is strongly committed to countering human landmines and supports efforts to detect and disable them. The main focus is on countries such as Myanmar, Ukraine, Iraq, Columbia and Afghanistan. Germany donated $75 million dollars to these projects which is twice as much as in the previous year.

The system of humanitarian aid is undergoing major changes. Approaches ask for a stronger involvement of local humanitarian actors and better communication between the organisations and the people in need of their help. The German government is highly supportive of new and innovative ideas such as mechanisms to better predict when and where a humanitarian crisis will occur. This approach has been successful in Myanmar in the spring of 2017 where, due to heavy storm and rainfall predictions, money was given to people in the endangered areas in advance and they were able to securely leave their homes with their belongings before the floods came. These techniques are especially useful in light of the extreme weather conditions imposed by an evolving worldwide climate change.